DCFoodies.com Recession Refreshment: Aleph Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - DCFoodies.com

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Dec 04, 2009


James Molesworth


Yes, our reviews do have a 'shelf life'. Our ratings represent what we think the quality of the wine will be when at its peak. The drink recommendations we give are aimed are letting the reader now when that peak will be - and we try to be cautious, preferring wines before they begin to slide.

I'm glad you still enjoyed the wine, though from your note, it certainly appears this wines' better days have passed. That, combined with a tough economy and backlogged inventories, is likely why it's being blown out at such a low price.

James Molesworth
Senior Editor
Wine Spectator

Chris M

I reserved a mixed case of the cab and malbec online for store pickup on your advice. keep it coming...

Congo Buchanan

Hey, this is very off-topic.. but I wanted to pass it along.

Google map of all the ethnic/specialty markets/groceries in the D.C. area...

A discussion on Chowhound kicked this off, so I made a map of all the little specialty shops in the area. It's only East Asian and Middle East/Indian/Mediterranean right now, but Euro/Gourmet, Latin/South American and African/Ethiopian might be coming.

East Asian Groceries:
(Chinese, Korean, Japanese, SE Asian -Thai/Viet/Malay/Philippine/Burmese/Indonesian/etc)
South Asian/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean:
(Indian, Arab, Mediterranean, Persian, Afghan/Paki, etc)

(You can view both maps together, by opening one in the same tab as the first, and checking the title of each map in the lower left hand corner.)
the latter map is just budding, but both are incomplete and can use help for anyone who wants to chip in.
Other maps will include Euro/Gourmet, Latin/South American, and African/Ethiopian -- assuming I don't lose interest quick.
I think this is a cool idea. I'd never been to Great Wall in Merrifield and was pretty blown away (live bullfrogs?) I wouldn't have checked it out if I hadn't learned that it was on my way to work.
Anyway, it seems worthwhile to flesh out. I'm not on a quest though -- if you think its a good idea, help out. You can do that just by opening the map, putting you address into the map search bar (so that you can find your house), then zoom out and see if any of the shops in your area are missing (or if one of the listed stores has closed.) Leave a message here afterwards.
If this is popular, maybe it can expand to include reviews of places (stock size, prices, special/odd items, etc) and photos.
What do you think?

Rob Rutledge

Wow, hello Mr. Molesworth! Thank you for reading and participating; wouldn't have expected to be on your radar. Again, thank you, but I fear you may have misunderstood me, and I thought I might take a moment to more thoroughly explain my position.

I totally appreciate the idea of a wine's shelf life -- of COURSE wines change, and that is the fun of it. And knowing when a wine is expected to 'peak' is one of the most important things the consumer can know. I applaud you and your contemporaries for providing that info, and thank you as well for your thorough and consistently helpful tasting notes.

While I was being facetious when I called your magazine a 'rag,' as it is obviously well regarded, I was not being so when I asked rhetorically about the declination of score over time. When one embarks to score wines on a precise 50 point scale, I would think that he would consider that a wine might change enough in character to merit a shift of a point or two after a mere couple of months, and maybe even more over several years. When the difference between an 89 and a 90 can mean all the difference to a certain set of consumers, is this not a valid concern? When you say that you rate a wine based on "its peak," and give a four year range in your notes, are we to understand that that wine will remain unchanged throughout that period?

I was not saying that having an 'expiration date' muddies the water of the score, but visa-versa. Whereas having a critic's educated opinion as to when a wine will start to decline is great, I feel that the 100 pt system confuses the matter. Assigning such a specific, concrete number to a product that is in constant flux just strikes me as ludicrous, and more than a little counterproductive to the practice of choosing the proper wine for an occasion. With tasting notes, it is easy to take into consideration the workings of time, and often certain characteristics will remain after years in bottle -- notes are a record of impressions, and their fluidity is accepted as writ. When it comes to scores, the mind (particularly the stat-happy American mind) is not trained that way: Scores are solid, stable, and generally accepted as more important than words. Whereas those traits are well-deserved and accurate in many fields, they simply do not translate to a discussion of wine, which unfortunately leads to misunderstanding, and sometimes, abuse.

But I am sure you hear from cranks like me all the time, so I will not bother you further. Thank you again for the vital service you provide. I hope that I have cleared up any misunderstanding on your part, and beg your pardon if I have caused any further offense.


Chris M

I picked up my case today - they were out of the malbec so its all cab - and for $3.99 I need to get another case. This is nicely aged and a great drinker. Perfect wine when you don't want to crack a more expensive bottle!

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